For Want of a Poem


Sometimes, I want a poem. A Bukowski can be so easy, but seldom sweet or relaxing. Or maybe something by Auden, Oliver, Kaur, Bloch, or Hughes. Or a Tony Hoagland piece about the word dickhead or a barbeque with friends. A Billy Collins poem is usually more of a clean-cut, smooth-spoken, New York laureate who smiles while staring out windows.

The right poem is like a cool glass of clean water, one you don’t know you need until you drink it. So, refreshing; may I have another?

Music helps but poetry works. I read slow and silently. I may move my lips. Maybe I’ll read the poem out loud to hear it in my voice. Or I’ll listen to poems read by one of the great poetic pros. Men with rich rhythmic baritone or base voice tones like Morgan Freeman, Tom O’Bedlam, James Earl Jones, or Johnny Cash. Maybe I’ll hear the fun wrangler sound of some cowboy poet. Or the attractive Brit accents of Sirs Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, or Patrick Stewart.

Please spare me the stoic, boring, cackling of electronic automatic computer-generated readings by unconscious semi-robots. Why do they do that? It is poetry. Speaking of dickhead decisions. Just no. I can’t!

When I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or what I need, or what I want, the right poem helps.

Sometimes we need to share darkness or a sad bit of life. It’s comforting that while we may be alone, we are not the only ones feeling lost.


Look both ways for refuge from the storms.
Mind the gaps. Ignore the dickheads.
Wear a mask and get the shot.

Poetry: Me in Drawing Class (NaPoWriMo day 5)

For this prompt, I was to select an existing poem and write my poem using the shape (form, style, beat) of the original. Each of my lines must begin with the same first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem.

For this assignment, I selected two Billy Collins poems. For shape, I chose “Class Picture 1954” (click to read it). I picked “Drawing Class” for subject and musings. Mr. Collins enjoyed his drawing class much more than I did. But we both like to draw.


Me in Drawing Class

I took the art class
for my drawing to improve.

To the instructor I was not
special nor obedient because
to me, she was retentive and inflexible.

The first day she belittled tardy.
I was early. Most were on time.
Is she too good to teach me?

At the front and center
in my surgical mask,
was I to be her basic class problem?

Because I claim my work
instead of me making art her way;
oh, how we entertained the others.

What’s so bad about using graphite?
And why is it carbon or charcoal
you think superior to what tool I use?

And now we’re done.
So class is over,
another moody artist goes his way.


Look both ways in dealing with the artsy types.
Mind the gaps, but graphite works equally well.